Deco Products Uses CIRAS Team to Tackle Internet Marketing

A Decorah manufacturer of precision zinc die castings expects to see more than a $1 million increase in sales thanks to work by CIRAS to help the company improve its internet marketing.

Dave Magner, director of sales and marketing for Deco Products Company in Decorah, said his company first turned to CIRAS about five years ago for advice on internet marketing in advance of a long-needed update to the company’s website. Several small projects ultimately led to long-term relationships with some of the outside experts CIRAS uses to teach its internet-related boot camps.

“I think those relationships help facilitate a holistic approach—not just having a Google AdWords campaign, but having something that is synergistic with our SEO and all desired goals,” Magner said. “I think what is nice about this approach is that you have these different experts, and they all work together well.”

Project manager Paul Gormley launched the first CIRAS Internet Marketing Strategy Boot Camp in 2009. It featured a mixture of classroom-style presentations and one-on-one coaching. Sessions were taught by Gormley and a mix of subject-matter experts who were brought in to handle specific topics, such as search engine optimization (SEO).

Previously, CIRAS only focused on specific elements of a company’s business plan. Company requests for more diversified assistance has led to a new engagement model. Gormley compared the new model, which allows for a longer-term advisor relationship, to a company learning how to ride a bicycle.

“We help you build the bike,” Gormley said. “We put the training wheels on, then we walk behind you and hold the seat until you are ready for us to let go.

“The ultimate goal is for companies to operate their digital marketing themselves,” Gormley said. “Some just take longer to get comfortable with the process.

“What we’re trying to create are great consumers of digital marketing services,” Gormley said. “We’re trying to get them to the point where they no longer need us.”

With Deco, CIRAS first helped the company assess its needs, then assembled a team to help create a digital-marketing strategy, redevelop and optimize their website for search engines, and execute a pay-per-click strategy. Magner said that the work quickly moved Deco to the first page of search results “for most of the keywords we care about.

“Because of the CIRAS team’s work, the amount of opportunities Deco obtains through its website has doubled each of the last three years,” Magner said.

“We’ve changed the whole structure of our budget around,” he said, “and are confident that we’re much more effective now.”

For more information, contact Paul Gormley at or 319-721-5357.